University of California Berkeley
. Jay Smith^Exploring Compenv
'HE H. JAY SMITH EXPLORING COMPANY desire
to acknowledge the many courtesies extended to
the Cliff-Dwellers Exhibit by Prof. F. W. PUT
NAM, Chief of Department of Ethnology, W.
C. E.; the valuable assistance of MR. FRANK
HAMILTON CUSHING, in describing and iden
tifying specimens, and the services of Mr. W
K. WETHERILL and his sons, as well as
those of ]\fR. CHARLES C. MASON, for their
pioneer work in exploring the Mancos region.
An extinct race, leaving no history by which modern
investigators may arrive at a definite knowledge of the age in
which they lived, or their pursuits, the " Cliff Dwellers " form
an interesting and puzzling subject of conjecture for ethnol
ogists, fascinating for its very illusiveness.
They are the earliest examples of civilization on the
American continent, contemporary with the ancient Cave Dwell
ers of Europe and Lake Dwellers of Switzerland, and are by
far the most highly civilized representatives of the " Stone Age,"
antedating the Aztecs and the Toltecs, and exhibiting almost as
high a degree of civilization.
The time at which, they lived has been variously fixed at
from fifteen hundred to three thousand years ago, but there is
nothing more definite than conjecture. Some of the ruins have
trees growing through them, which are doubtless hundreds of
years old, but how many ages elapsed before those trees sprang
into life is unknown. They are a mythical race, exhibiting in
the relics found, rare powers and refined tastes at variance with
the common idea of aborigines.
RUIN CANON, UTAH.
DOUBLE HOUSES, RUIN CANON.
The most perfectly preserved relics are those of the Canon
of the Colorado, where a succession of villages remain almost
intact, showing very clearly their method of building, and where
many valuable remains have been found, which have thrown
great light upon the lives of this far-distant people. Through
New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona are scattered villages in a more
or less perfect state of preservation, but those of Colorado have
proved of the most value to explorers and investigators.
Their building is peculiarly advanced for such primitive
people, balconies and towers, windows and doors showing evi
dence of an architectural instinct far better developed than in
many subsequent races. Great stone walls, in some cases as
much as a hundred feet high, formed almost unsurmountable
barriers against invading foes, and betray their great ingenuity
and foresight. Everything is indicative of their having been
in constant danger from the depredations and invasion of some,
to us unknown, enemies, as they built no stairs, cut no steps,
simply hollowed out slight foot and hand holds, by means of
which and ladders they ascended and descended to their dwell
ings. The walls were strongly built of stones, cemented
together, and in some cases balconies made of logs and covered
with bark and adobe projected over the cliffs. The doors were
odd "T" shaped openings so built to admit easy entrance to
the large carrying paniers in which all their provisions were
brought to their homes. The living rooms are in most cases
circular, with a low stone seat running about the sides, fitted
with hollowed-out stone closets, and having fire-places in the
center. Under separate ledges of rock are small, unlighted rooms
where grain was stored.
From bones and mummies found in the ruins it is proved
that they were a large, well-developed race, fully equal in size
THE HIGH TOWER.
to the men of to-day. The heads were well formed, and
denote a more than ordinary degree of intelligence, with rather
refined faces, fair skin, and fine hair, often light and totally
different from most of the modern Indian races now known,
excepting, perhaps, the Zuni Puehlo Indians the most remark
able living representatives of the native tribes of America, of
whom they are claimed to be, and that, with great possibility,
the direct ancestors. Their homes were fortresses, where they
lived secure and tilled a living from the rich soil of the table
lands above them. Corn, beans, pumpkin and squash seeds
found in the houses show their chief articles of food, while
the many implements used and their granaries indicate their
agricultural spirit. They had water reservoirs and irrigating
canals, crude but clever provision against the dry climate of the
country which requires heavy irrigation to perform the duty of
rains in other locations.
Though undoubtedly agriculturally inclined they cultivated
only small gardens, yielding sufficient sustenance for absolute
necessity. Probably their time was too fully taken up in defend
ing themselves against their enemies to admit of their engaging
in extensive out-door work, and with their primitive implements
it was impossible to cultivate a great amount of ground. It
must have been a great hardship for them to live in their
almost inaccessible homes, and farm the land above them,
necessitating carrying all implements and products up and
down the steep cliffs.
Among their products was wild cotton, and this they wove
into cloth which they used for clothing and wrappings for their
dead. They dressed in coarse garments of yucca fibre, woven
together with feathers and hair, and encased their feet in rough,
sandals also made from yucca, bound with a stout twine made of
the twisted fibre. About their necks they wore ornaments ever
dear to the primitive heart, made of turkey bones, shells, and
small smooth pebbles, drilled through and strung together with
fibre. Some of their sandals were artistically woven in delicate
raised piitterns and in different colors; a most admirable product
of patience and handiwork when the coarseness of the material is
kept in mind. They carried their babies on their backs, strapped
to a baby-board similar to the ones now used among certain
tribes, made of bent wood, woven across with yucca fibre.
Their axes were of stone with edges of sufficient sharpness
for felling trees, bound about with flexible wood, twisted to form
the handle, but almost as indispensable were the paddles and
knee-boards used in beating and rolling the ever necessary yucca.
They ate with stone knives, and spoons made of bone, and
cooked their food in earthen vessels, which they made by twisting
a small roll of wet clay round and round in coils, then pinching
it down and shaping it into large vessels. They manufactured
other pottery in the shape of drinking cups, vases, and lamps,
some of them highly decorated in red and black, most of the
patterns being geometrical. A few bowls bear figure designs of
men and animals, but nothing which would throw any light upon
the characters or pursuits of the people, being merely roughly
They used needles of bone and thread of yucca fibre and
cotton, darned their clothing and mended their sandals in a very
They were not a warlike people their fighting was simply
done in defense. Arrows of reed, with hard wood or flint
points with strong bows of sinew, were their chief implements,
of war, and the small number of these found is indicative of
their naturally quiet and peaceable natures, which only rose up
SPECIMENS OF LAMPS. VESSELS FOR HOLDING GRAIN,
DECORATED DRINKING VESSELS.
MORTARS AND PESTLES.
to defend themselves against the attacks of thsir foes. Their
dead were buried in stone chambers, tightly sealed and protected
from the air. The bodies were first wrapped in skin or coarse
cotton cloth, outside was a wrapping of feather cloth, then mat
ting, and lastly a binding of reeds. Buried, as they were, in
the peculiarly dry earth and rarified air of Colorado, the bodies
are in a more perfect state of preservation than most mummies,
and give the strongest insight into the personality of this long-
vanished people. How and why, they became extinct is a puzzle
to all explorers. That they were quite a numerous race is evi
dent from the great size and number of their buildings, which
could only have been built by many hands. Some scientists
advance the theory that some dreadful plague broke out among
them, totally destroying the whole nation, but there is little if
any proof to substantiate this belief. Others think that an
opposing horde of invaders swept down upon them. It is,
however, advanced, with much to prove this theory, that the
remains of decimated bands found safety in emigration and
have become, under the influence of time, climate, and different
surroundings, the Zuni Pueblo Indians of to-day.
WETMEWLL MAP OF
RIO DE LOS MANGOS
EXPLORED BY THE
M JAY SMiTh PARTY-
"SHE," ONE OF THE FIRST MUMMIES FOUND.
THE CLIFF DWELLERS EXHIBIT
. AT THE .
WORLD'S COLUMBIAN EXPOSITION.
The exhibition of this collection is one of the first success
ful attempts ever made in bringing within the easy understanding
of the visitor one of the most interesting branches of archaeology.
Anthropology and its allied sciences have been heretofore
considered the domain of the scholar and scientist, and but few
persons have attempted to study the fascinating history of the
primitive man, his habits, his handiwork, his life.
SPECIMENS OF POTTERY.
in the study of the Cliff Dwellers we find a special interest,
as they represent, no doubt, the earliest civilization of the Ameri
The preparation of the Cliff Dwellers Exhibit was under
taken nearly two years ago by the H. Jay Smith Exploring
Company. Careful survey of the caiions of Colorado and Utah
and the collection of specimens from the ruins was carried on
with success for several months and the construction of the
building and arrangement of the exhibit required a long time
and the untiring labors of a skilled company of artists.
The outside of the building represents Battle Rock Mount-
.ain, a weird and solitary landmark in the desert of South
The representation of this mysterious and legendary rock
has been admitted to be an excellent selection for the building to
contain the priceless mementos of a long vanished race.
Upon entering the gateway made to represent one of the
dwellings of the cliffs, one finds himself in the celebrated Mancos
Canon; rocks covered with the yucca plant and the sage-brush
rise on both sides to the height of seventy feet, and in the recesses
of the tumbling sandstone are reproduced on a scale of one-tenth,
the most picturesque ruins bearing the greatest archceologic
interest. Cliff Palace, which once harbored over twelve hundred
inhabitants, is reproduced on the left with its towers and build
ings in ruins, just as they were found by the exploring party on
its last visit to the canon where photographs, measurements, and
diagrams were made of all the buildings to be reproduced here.
On the right, Square Tower House rises to the height of ten
superposed stories of dwellings, while on the opposite side of the
Canon Balcony House is to be found, exhibiting one of the rare
and fast disappearing examples of the cedar balconies to be found
STONE AXES AND HAMMERS.
CARVED STONE USED FOR HOLD
ING ROPE LADDER.
STONE KNIVES, DAGGER, ARROW POINTS.
in the region. Further on is High House, one of the most
inaccessible refuges of the persecuted Cliff Dweller.
In an artificial underground cave panoramic paintings of
Ruin Castle, Spruce Tree House, Long House, She House, and
Cliff Palace may be seen. These excellent canvasses, the work
of a young artist, who joined the party and made careful sketches
on the spot, add great interest to the collection. Specially con
trived means of lighting add much to the reality of the scenes
depicted and give to the visitor a fair idea of the rarified and
clear atmosphere of Colorado.
Coming out of the cave, "estufas" and living rooms are
reproduced in exact size, and show the material, the construction
of the dwellings, assembly rooms, kitchens, graves, and granaries.
Beyond is the museum, where no pains have been spared to
arrange and exhibit upward of two thousand specimens bearing
directly upon the subject. "She," one of the first and best
preserved mummies found in the grave of the ruin called
afterward the She House is the centre of a rare and complete
collection of mummies. This department comprises mummies of
men, women, children, skulls and hair, burial robes, and wrappings.
The pottery exhibit is most complete, and comprises all that
could be desired from very large and beautiful specimens of
the coil-ware, used for cooking, to the decorated vessels, used
for drinking or storing grain; some of the vessels are most
ornate. On one vase a Cliff Dweller is seen hunting deer with
bow and arrows; on a drinking vessel the picture of a dancing
figure is represented, while on another turkeys ornament the
handle of a drinking cup. The interior of many vases are
decorated with geometrical patterns circles, squares, and lines
wreathes of leaves in black and red. In one case a small jug
is inlaid with square pieces of mother pearl.
Their agricultural pursuits are represented by numerous
packages of seeds, beans, pumpkins and squashes, corn and corn
cobs, planting, sticks, and other implements.
Their knowledge of textile weaving is shown by pieces
of a loom, wild-cotton cloth of great fineness cloth, woven
from the fibre of the yucca plant, and pieces of garments,
probably used as leggings, made of Yucca fiber interwoven
with human hair; a piece of a burial robe shows a delicate
weaving of yucca colored in yellow, black, and probably white;
proving that in weaving, as well as in the art of the potter,
they had reached a certain knowledge of decoration and
arrangement of color.
The basket-making is also largely represented and shows
great dexterity in handling the rough fibre of the yucca. Over
ninety pairs of sandals show the diversity of manufacture from'
the rough sand shoe made of the full leaf of the yucca, to
finely woven and decorated sandals.
The remains of a ceremonial head-band prove that they
had religious rites of some nature, while a gaming-stick,
similar to the one used in the "Pachisi" game of India, and
the " Ta-sho-li-w6 " of the Zunis, show that gambling was not
unknown to them.
Several fine specimens of feather-cloth and buckskin gar
ments denote their fondness for ease and comfort, and the
rare stone axes, bows, arrows, and sling-shots found give
additional proof to their peaceful pursuits and may also give
a cue to the mysterious disappearance of this once great nation,
which was possibly annihilated by more warlike tribes sur
CLIFF CANON, COLORADO.
La Monte- O'DonneU Co., Printers, Chicago